How to determine what property is subject to division in divorce

On behalf of Jeffrey N. Greenblatt of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, PA posted in Property Division on Thursday, August 7, 2014.

People in Maryland who are going through divorce face a lot of uncertainty, and surely have a lot of questions on their minds. One of the main concerns in most divorce cases is the family finances, and how that situation may change once couples have finalized their divorce. Under Maryland law, each party is entitled to an equitable property division settlement, meaning only that the decision is fair to both parties. This may not mean an exact fifty-fifty split, and may depend on certain factors.

First of all though, the court must determine what constitutes marital property and what constitutes separate property. Marital property is subject to equitable division, while separate property is considered the property of one of the spouses and will remain that spouse's property after the divorce. Marital property is generally defined as all property obtained during the marriage, including, in most circumstances, assets and debt accrued by either party.

However, some property is considered the separate property of one of the spouses if that spouse came into the marriage with that property, and keeps that property separate throughout the course of the marriage.

It isn't always easy for a couple, or the court for that matter, to determine which category assets fall into. Sometimes separate property, and the assets that accrue as the result of ownership, can be commingled with marital property in the same account. For example, a spouse who owned a home prior to the marriage may decide to keep the house, but charge a tenant rent on the property. If these collected rent payments go into the same account as other marital assets, there may be difficulty determining whether these should be subject to asset division or not.

For most couples, property division can be a complicated financial and legal matter, which is why every person going through a divorce should get the help of an experienced family law attorney to ensure that they get what they deserve out of the property division process.

Source: Divorce Net, "Maryland Divorce: Dividing Property," accessed Aug. 3, 2014